Friends in the space notwithstanding, there is not a lot of positive commentary to shed on the insulation installer industry at large. We’ll use a few excerpts from a California Energy Code document on Quality Insulation Installation (QII) that gets straight to the point.
It is worth noting that of all the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) verified measures, QII has the highest fail rate. This is partly due to the fact that it requires very precise coordination between the Rater, the installer, and the general contractor/builder. It is also partly due to the fact that the industry still has a long way to go until standard practice is anything near what would pass QII. High turnover by installers is a known issue, as well. It is difficult to keep trained installers from moving on to more prestigious (and less itchy) construction jobs.
It’s a fact…..friends don’t let friends install (fiberglass) insulation. To be fair, we are not here to beat up on fiberglass (nor do we need to – you know the drill) but we are indeed here to call it like it is. The industry can only be as good as the individuals doing the work and when it is a job that no one wants to do……well, there goes the neighborhood.
So, before drawing the obvious line as to why (wool insulation) DIY installs are on the rise for homeowners let’s take a half step sideways and shed some light on the positive progress being taken to make homes more efficient.
What is QII? Back to the same document:
Quality Insulation Installation (QII) is a procedure for ensuring that thermal insulation has been properly installed and that air sealing has been properly done in a home.
An applied case would be that the insulation must touch all 6 sides of a wall cavity. This would eliminate air infiltration, which can have gargantuan effects on the efficacy of the insulation. Clearly, such a practice in all the cavities across a home would require careful attention to detail and a slow pace to ensure compliance. This is an industry that requires speed and volume to ride the razor-thin margin to any sort of profitability.
This point can be dragged out to the point of tears. That is not our goal. With challenges reasonably understood, we’ll skip to what is changing? A few things in no specific order:
Homeowners are asking questions about performance and (building) material choices. Higher performance often requires better products. The same goes for healthy living spaces i.e. toxic products don’t improve indoor air quality.
Builders are listening to their clients and in some instances driving their own change.
Architects are changing specifications; educating their clients and taking on those builders that revert to a tired playbook.
And we’re here. This is not a shameless plug; it’s just a fact – we are indeed here, and we bring wool, the most dynamic fiber there is, to the equation.
When insulation is not itchy, is fun to work with, and can be delivered straight to your door with a growing library of content support to back up our customer service, guess what happens? The industry changes.
We can’t do it without you and together we are affecting positive change. Here’s to loads more of the same.